Category Archives: Technology Deals

Amazon Eyes Greater Home Robotics Play With iRobot Buy

Amazon today announced plans to acquire home robotics firm iRobot for an all-cash deal valued at a whopping $1.7 billion or $61 per share. This latest multi-billion deal follows Amazon’s recent acquisitions of healthcare technology platform One Medical (July 2022), which public in 2020, and order fulfillment company Kiva Systems (March 2021). And it’s the ecommerce giant’s second acquisition of a publicly-traded company in less than a year.

The iRobot deal ranks among Amazon’s largest acquisitions and represents the company’s latest play in the highly lucrative home robotics space.

Based in Bedford, Massachusetts, iRobot is a technology firm that designs and builds robots. The company was founded by a group of researchers from MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, Colin Angle, Rodney Brooks, and Helen Greiner. A decade after its founding, iRobot introduced its home robots flagship, the Roomba, which sold more than 30 million units by 2004.

The company’s products include widely popular autonomous home vacuum cleaner Roomba, automated floor moppers Braava, robotic lawn mower Terra, floor-washing robot Scooba, swimming-pool cleaning robot Verro, gutter-cleaning robot Looj, and other autonomous home cleaning devices.

It’s not just home robots, iRobot also develops a number of defense and security robots. In 1998, the robotic firm received a DARPA, the US Defense Department’s premier research division, research contract which led to the development of the PackBot, a series of military robots designed for explosive ordinance disposal, surveillance, and other missions.

Currently, the US military had more than 2000 of iRobot’s PackBots in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to deployment as bomb-disposal units in hotspot places like Iraq and Afghanistan, PackBots have been used to gather data in dangerous conditions at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster site in Japan. The company’s long-range dual-role autonomous underwater vehicle Seaglider was used in the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

As of 2020, the company has already sold more than 30 million home robots and has deployed more than 5,000 security robots, according to the company’s website. In February 2016, the company announced plans to sell its military robotics business to Arlington Capital Partners to focus more on the consumer market.

Technology stocks have been hit hard by the economic downturn, and big companies, such as Amazon and Thomas Bravo, have seen that as a great opportunity to make strategic acquisitions at discounted prices. iRobot’s stock price, which is down 12 percent since the beginning of the year, has been hit hard by the economic downturn and is one of the few publicly-traded companies that has been acquired in recent weeks.

Amazon’s acquisition of Ring, the home automation startup that specializes in smart-camera-equipped doorbells, has already widened the company’s consumer competitive moat and improved its smart home engine. The addition of iRobot will definitely give the company another major boost and extend its reach in the smart home business.

IBM acquires Databand to help enterprise companies catch bad data at the source

IBM is once again bolstering its data and AI division with a strategic acquisition, this time it’s the Israeli-based data observability startup Databand. The IT services giant has acquired Databand, a startup that specializes in developing an observability platform software solutions for data and machine learning pipelines. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed to the public, but the Israeli startup had announced that it has raised $14.5 million prior to the tech deal.

The latest deal, according to IBM, will help it to carve out a piece of the fast-growing data observability market, which was estimated to be around $5 billion in 2020, according to the latest study from research firm IDC. It will also help IBM compete better with the likes of AWS, Microsoft, and Oracle, which also offer full-stack observability tools and services.

With Databand under its enterprise IT roof, IBM gets to add another piece of a layer to its existing data observability tools, which include IBM Watson Studio and IBM Obervability by Instana. Big Blue plans to add Databand’s data observability technology platform to its existing data observability tools to offer its customers a full spectrum of observability tools across IT operations.

Data observability platform is used by companies and businesses to better monitor enterprise applications, such as data flow and distributed infrastructure, and to figure out whether data products are working properly. It helps data engineers trace the origin of the data problem in case of a system failure.

In a newly-released statement by IBM, Daniel Hernandez, IBM general manager for data and AI said that folding Databand into IBM’s broader portfolio would help the latter’s customers better identify and fix data issues including errors, pipeline failures, and poor quality. The plan is to expand Databand’s observability capabilities for integrations across open source and commercial tools while allowing customers to have “full flexibility” in running Databand either as a service or a self-hosted subscription.

“Our clients are data-driven enterprises who rely on high-quality, trustworthy data to power their mission-critical processes. When they don’t have access to the data they need at any given moment, their business can grind to a halt,” Hernandez said in a released statement.

Founded in 2018 and based in Tel Aviv, Israel, Databand.ai is a product-driven technology company that provides a proactive data observability platform. Databand’s technology empowers data engineering and IT teams to deliver reliable and trustworthy data. The company’s main goal is to help enterprise companies catch bad data at the source, and help them fix these data issues before it impacts their bottom line.

This Israeli-based startup was funded and backed by Accel Partners, Blumberg Capital, Ubiquity Ventures, Differential Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, and F2.

As part of the deal, Databand employees will join IBM’s data and AI division. The deal is expected to close on July 27.

Sony acquires US support studio Valkyrie Entertainment

Sony today announced that it has acquired Seattle-based developer Valkyrie Entertainment. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed to the public. The deal is expected to bolster the development of Sony PlayStation Studios Exclusive Games, according to the press release.

Valkyrie is the latest addition and the company’s fifth studio acquisition for this year. The Seattle-based gaming studio will complete the busy 2021 long list of acquisitions for Sony’s PlayStation business.

According to Engadget, Sony has been busy adding gaming companies this year. The company has acquired Housemarque, Nixxes Software, Firesprite, and Bluepoint Games. To date, the company has added a total of 17 gaming studios under its corporate umbrella.

The Valkyrie acquisition was announced by Herman Hulst, the head of Sony’s PlayStation Studios. “Valkyrie’s diverse capabilities will be welcomed by every team at PlayStation Studios as we continue to focus on delivering extraordinary gaming experiences,” he said in a statement.

Founded in 2002, and based in Seattle, Washington, Valkyrie Entertainment is a game developer and service provider. The company primarily worked as a support studio, providing co-development services to other game studios and publishers. Sony Interactive Entertainment has years of experience working with Valkyrie on a number of projects, having tapped the gaming studio’s help for Twisted Metal, Infamous 2, 2018’s God of War, and the upcoming action-adventure game and the ninth installment in the God of War game series, God of War: Ragnarok.

In addition, Valkyrie is also the developer of 2015’s hit free-to-play action-strategy game Guns Up for Sony’s Playstation 4 and STEAM. The US gaming studio has also worked on numerous big gaming titles for AAA game publishers. These include Halo Infinite (Microsoft Studios), the first five Forza Motorsport titles (Microsoft Studios), the Middle-earth: Shadow of War (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment), and Batman: Arkham Origins (Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment).

Founded in November 1993, and headquartered in Sony Interactive Entertainment (SIE) is a Japanese-American multinational video game and digital entertainment company wholly owned by Japanese multinational conglomerate Sony Group Corporation. SIE handles the development, production, and marketing of both hardware and software for Sony’s PlayStation video game products.

Informa buys NetLine and acquires stake in UK event tech company Totem

Informa PLC, the UK-based knowledge services and business intelligence group, has acquired NetLine Corporation, which operates the largest B2B-specific content syndication lead generation network offering content syndication in the market. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed to the public.

For more than 20 years, NetLine has been focused on helping B2B content creators achieve lead generation goals. And today, NetLine CEO Robert Alvin made a huge announcement. In the press release, the CEO has just confirmed that it has completed a deal with Informa Tech—one of the world’s largest providers of intelligence, industry forums, and marketing services in the tech industry.

Founded by entrepreneur Robert Alvin in 1994, and based in Campbell, California, NetLine is a market-leading B2B content syndication and lead management platform that provides targeted branding and high-quality lead generation, helping companies and B2B content creators achieve lead generation success. The company’s B2B content syndication lead generation network reaches more than 125 million unique visitors per month and processes more than 700,000 leads monthly across 300 industry sectors.

As part of the deal, NetLine CEO Robert Alvin and the entire NetLine team will join Informa Tech (a division of Informa PLC).

Informa picked BrightTower, the New York City-based investment banking and M&A advisory services firm, as its exclusive financial advisor in this technology deal, according to the company’s press release.


Informa takes stake in Totem

In addition to the NetLine deal, Informa has also taken a stake in UK-based event tech company Totem, which offers an integrated portfolio of digital event solutions. The exact value of the investment has not been disclosed to the media.

The deal builds on Totem’s existing relationship with Informa Connect, which uses Totem’s technology to deploy digital features and apps that amplify and enhance the experience of connecting and learning at its in-person events, the report said.

Founded in 1998, and based in London, United Kingdom, Informa Tech is a market-leading provider of intelligence, industry forums, and marketing services to the global technology industry. The British firm provides world-class research, events, training, and media that aim to inform, educate, connect and inspire its 4 million-strong technology community.